hundredth time’s the charm

we left the cinders glowing

gently

a few fields back

and you still smell like smoke.

 

you reach into your jacket pocket,

looking for your cigarettes.

i wonder how long it will take

you to realize that i

hid them all.

[i don’t want you to get emphysema,

i whisper,

my worn-out anthem.

but this time you don’t swear or yell or groan

this time you laugh.]

 

there are fireflies drifting languidly by

on the breeze.

you wonder if any of them are from new orleans

you wonder if we could throw a floating lantern festival

you wonder if someday we’ll go to paris,

and put a love padlock on a bridge

[a best-friend-lock, you say].

i wonder if i still remember how to breathe

i wait for you to tease my voice out of me

to poke until i snap at you

but this time you don’t push

or pry

or tease.

 

when we get to my door

we stop

and i wait for you to smile your earth-shattering smile

to tweak my nose and say goodnight and leave

 

but this time

you don’t.

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